Bone and Joint Health
In today’s culture, muscle is frequently regarded as a characteristic of one’s appearance. However, if you describe muscle using the technical term “lean body mass”, the idea of toned bodies tends to exit the picture. Lean body mass (LBM) is often mentioned as a measure of weight gain or loss in scientific studies. For instance, weight loss trials commonly note the total amount of weight lost and the percentage of body fat and LBM loss. Naturally, in overweight individuals, it’s preferable to lose a significant percentage of excess body fat. At the same time, the goal is to preserve as much lean body mass as possible. The preservation of LBM becomes even more important as we age. Even in the absence of intended weight loss, older adults tend to lose muscle and strength as a “normal” part of the aging process. In some instances, age-related muscle and strength loss is even more pronounced and is classified as sarcopenia. This is of great importance because seniors diagnosed with sarcopenia are at greater risk of falls, fractures and a general decline in overall health and independence.
Tags: aging, HMB, Muscle
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements | 13 Comments & Updates
Many holistically-minded consumers have heard of and/or tried Maca – a root vegetable belonging to the mustard family which has been used medicinally for thousands of years in the Andean region of South America. In health food stores, you’ll frequently find it in supplements intended to support athletic performance, hormonal regulation and virility. In addition, Maca powder is sometimes featured in juices and smoothie concoctions for added nutrition and unspecified health benefits. In essence, Maca has taken on a similar reputation as ashwagandha or ginseng, as an adaptogen which promotes balance in various systems in the body. However, not all Maca products are created equal.
Tags: High Blood Pressure, Maca, Menopause
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements, Women's Health | 2 Comments & Updates
If you consult with most primary care doctors about arthritis, overweight, poor bone density or post traumatic stress, you’ll likely walk out of their offices with a prescription and/or a referral to a specialist. A similar scenario occurs quite frequently if you visit your local health food store or holistic clinic inquiring about the very same health conditions. But, regardless of which form of treatment you choose, there’s an important asset that you should always bring to your appointments – information. Instead of simply expecting to be informed, be prepared to pose the types of questions that only informed patients can ask.
Tags: Appetite, Arthritis, PTSD
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | 5 Comments & Updates
A reader asks: “I’ve had recurrent bouts of tendonitis in my elbow and shoulder. When I go to see my doctor about it, he usually recommends Advil or Aleve to manage the pain and swelling. But, I don’t like to take these types of drugs. Are there are any natural remedies that I can use to reduce tendon pain and speed the recovery process?”.
Tags: Arthritis, Inflammation, Pain
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments & Updates
One of the strengths of evidence-based, natural medicine is confidence. As a consultant, educator and writer, I have confidence about my positions because they’re backed by peer-reviewed, scientific evidence. Therefore, I’m not just one lonely voice making an impassioned argument. Rather, I’m part of a collective of voices that uses documented facts and findings to further the cause of natural health care. This very same philosophy can be used by individuals who have no particular interest in working in the field of medicine. In fact, it can work equally well for anyone who simply wishes to incorporate more natural remedies into their treatment program.
Tags: Arthritis, Cancer, Fish Oil
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements | 4 Comments & Updates
For whatever reason, prunes are often viewed in a different light than other dried fruits. These days, dried apricots, cranberries and mangos are commonly added to desserts or snacked on alone or as part of trail mix. But, dried plums or prunes might as well be shelved next to laxatives and psyllium fiber in the pharmacy section of supermarkets. And, while it’s true that prunes are an effective way of addressing constipation, they’re also much, much more than that.
Tags: Constipation, High Blood Pressure, Liver
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 6 Comments & Updates
In the Los Angeles area, there’s a popular weekend radio problem hosted by a physician who specializes in a form of treatment known as prolotherapy. After hearing the show for the first time, a client inquired about the science behind this unconventional technique which involves the injection of a “sugar-water” solution into joint, ligament and tendinous spaces. How is it possible that injecting a mixture consisting primarily of dextrose and water can help improve inflammatory conditions such as low back pain, osteoarthritis and tendinopathy, while at the same time promoting a healing reaction? Admittedly, this sounds counterintuitive. Injections, in and of themselves, evoke pain. Dextrose, a high glycemic variety of sugar, is typically associated with ill effects. In prolotherapy, this combination is turned on its head. Research reveals that immediately following each injection, localized inflammation does, in fact, occur. However, as time goes on, this initial inflammation shifts to pain modulation and encourages the proliferation of new tissue via the induction of tissue growth factors
Tags: Arthritis, Pain, Sugar
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Exercise | 6 Comments & Updates
The ancient practice of yoga in its many incarnations is more popular than ever before. But, based on my informal assessment, it appears that there is a widespread perception that yoga is primarily useful for issues pertaining to mental health. And, while it’s true that yoga often promotes a more positive psychological outlook and clearer cognitive functioning, there’s much more to it. Lately, a series of well designed, clinical studies have illustrated the emerging role of yoga in addressing physical ailments and complaints as well.
Tags: Arthritis, Fatigue, Sleep
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Mental Health | 3 Comments & Updates
In previous columns I’ve reported on the myriad of health benefits associated with turmeric extracts. Turmeric is probably best known as a component of curry, the traditional spice mix. However, among scientists, turmeric has been at the center of a love-hate relationship. In animal and in vitro studies, curcuminoids, antioxidant chemicals found in turmeric, have yielded very encouraging results in conditions ranging from autoimmune disease to dementia. Conversely, human trials have been far less consistent. Poor bioavailability is suspected as the primary culprit for the mixed findings in the human studies.
Tags: Cancer, Curcumin, Eyes
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements | 22 Comments & Updates
Most health conscious consumers know that soft drinks such Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola aren’t exactly healthy. Even the diet, sugar-free versions of these beverages are loaded with questionable ingredients. Nonetheless, if sales are any indication, a significant percentage of the population isn’t terribly concerned about the implications of drinking cola on a regular basis. This is, in part, due to the caffeine content. Taste is also a factor. However, not everyone knows that there are delicious, natural alternatives to conventional colas that provide a similar “kick” without the artificial ingredients.
Tags: Calcium, Osteoporosis, Sugar
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 3 Comments & Updates
In a recent conversation, I was asked about the safety of Vitamin K supplements in relation to cardiovascular health. The gentleman I was speaking with brought up the possibility of excessive blood clotting or coagulation. The basis for his concern is that some “blood thinning” medications, such as coumadin (Warfarin), work by antagonizing Vitamin K. What’s more, physicians often recommend limiting Vitamin K consumption via food and supplementation in patients using Vitamin K antagonists. But, what about the majority of the population that isn’t using coumadin or related drugs?
Tags: Osteoporosis, Vitamin K, Women's Health
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 7 Comments & Updates
I was recently contacted by a young lady whose mother has osteoporosis. I was told that she’s unable to have dairy and many calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice and soy products. In addition, she has a difficult time swallowing pills. On the other hand, she very much enjoys mineral water. Her question to me was, “Can I drink mineral water instead of taking a calcium supplement?”.
Tags: Calcium, Osteoporosis, Water
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 8 Comments & Updates
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 30% of adults over the age 65 experience a fall each year. Not only are falls the leading cause of injury related deaths in seniors, but they’re also the most prevalent cause of hospital admissions due to physical trauma. Thankfully, there’s quite a lot that can be done to prevent falls. And, as with most health care and safety issues, a combination of conventional and holistic strategies is likely to yield the best results.
Tags: Calcium, Tai Chi, Vitamin D
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Exercise | 2 Comments & Updates
For many scientists, it’s hard to imagine that something as inexpensive, pleasing and simple to use as lavender oil can have a profound influence on emotional states, sleep quality and well being. On the other hand, consumers from around the world have made lavender oil a top selling aromatherapeutic aid. Anecdotal accounts of success and recommendations from family and friends are the primary reasons why lavender remains a strong seller among those in need of a calmer state of mind and relief from insomnia. In recent months, several studies have been published which help bridge the gap between lavender-believers and lavender-skeptics.
Tags: Anxiety, Aromatherapy, Insomnia
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Mental Health | 5 Comments & Updates
One of the most popular columns I’ve written thus far focused on the promise of krill oil for conditions as diverse as arthritis to premenopausal syndrome. I based the content of that particular piece on several studies from the last decade that found decidedly positive results alongside an enviable safety profile. In essence, I concluded that krill oil may very well be superior to fish oil and other sources of omega 3 fatty acids. If this is indeed the case, it’s likely because of krill oils unique composition – which features astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, and phosholipids which assist with the absorption and retention of omega 3 fatty acids and may impart health benefits of their own. However, I also cautioned that the data on krill oil was preliminary and nowhere near as extensive as that of fish oil.
Tags: Arthritis, Fish Oil, Krill Oil
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 27 Comments & Updates
Recently, a client of mine experienced a very positive response to a natural regimen I recommended for improving skeletal health. Today’s column highlights the basic principles my client used to turn the tide from losing bone to gaining it. I can’t promise that others will find the same results. However, I hope that this real life example will encourage everyone concerned about osteoporosis to examine how they’re approaching it from a dietary, lifestyle and supplemental standpoint.
Tags: Calcium, Magnesium, Osteoporosis
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Exercise, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments & Updates